Black Lives Matter: A message of solidarity and a call to action from the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee
We stand in solidarity with Black communities and affirm our commitment to ending anti-Black racism. We strongly condemn violence and all forms of discrimination against Black communities. We believe that to remain silent is to be complicit. We strongly assert that Black Lives Matter. We acknowledge that systemic racism and implicit biases are pervasive across academia, including in the geosciences. Here, we acknowledge that it is our responsibility to change this system. This is a long-standing problem, and frankly we haven’t done enough to address it in the past.
We will work to make the EPS department a place where racism isn’t tolerated. We commit to continued dialogue with our community members and to follow through on this dialogue, resulting in clear and concrete actions. We call on our department to amplify Black voices in the geosciences through departmental seminars, courses, social media, and department events. We call to increase our seminar invitations to Black scientists and those of other minoritized groups. We recommend efforts to recognize the contributions of more Black researchers in our undergraduate and graduate courses, as well as regularly featuring Black scientists and their research on our website and on social media. We will also encourage incorporation of environmental and climate justice issues throughout our courses and in seminars, recognizing the especially close relationship between environmental justice and social justice.
We are committed to creating a diverse, equitable, and inclusive community within the EPS department. We acknowledge that we still have a long way to go, especially in recruiting and retaining Black students, staff, and faculty, who remain underrepresented in our department, as well as in the broader geoscience community. We call on our department to increase our recruitment and support of Black students, including through developing a partnership with our College Prep program, and outreach to prospective and incoming Washington University undergraduate students. We call to develop a pipeline to recruit underrepresented graduate students through partnership with Harris Stowe State University, UMSL, and our local community colleges, whereby we can provide upper level minoritized students with experience in the lab as part of a fast-track into our graduate program. In addition, we will work to ensure that everyone within EPS has access to necessary training, including, but not limited to, implicit bias, and mentoring.
We are focused on furthering diversity and inclusion to ensure that the department offers a welcoming and inclusive climate for everyone. In this, we remain committed to listening to and learning from our community, including undergraduate and graduate students, researchers, faculty, staff, and alumni. It is our hope that by standing with Black communities and striving to make the EPS department, and more broadly, the geosciences, more inclusive and equitable to people from all groups, we can aid in dismantling the systemic racism that exists in this country. We believe that if we unite as a community to work on these issues, we can move forward to a more equitable future, together.
Over the coming weeks, we will create and publicize time-sensitive goals to remain accountable to our community and to track our progress related to these efforts.
Members of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee
Department of Earth & Planetary Sciences
Washington University in St. Louis